Processed foods can be pretty bad for your health. But did you realize that they aren’t so good for the climate’s health either?
In the U.S. we have dramatically increased the amount of energy that is required to produce food, partly because of food processing and packaging.
It’s estimated that upwards of 75% of processed foods contain genetically engineered ingredients like corn, soy, canola, cottonseed oil and sugar, which rely upon fossil-fuel intensive chemical pesticides and fertilizers to produce.
Processing typically happens in large-scale, energy-intensive factories where food is cooked, mixed, baked, frozen, dried or otherwise manipulated..
Packaging goes hand-in-hand with processing, and although we’ve seen some improvements, most packaging uses plastic, which is not only made from fossil fuels, but often cannot be, or is not routinely, recycled.
In short, there many good reasons why you should try to fill your basket with fresh, unpackaged, unprocessed foods. They require less energy to be produced, often taste better and, of course, are healthier for you, your family and the climate.
Keep your shopping to the outer aisles of the market (note: grocery stores are almost always designed so that fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy are located around the edge of the store) and you are well on your way to eating climate-smart foods.